As she did with The Crown, Bilyeau has once again written an excellent historical novel. Again we are taken to the perilous times of the reign of Henry VIII. Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour are both dead, but Henry finally has his heir in prince Edward. However, the king is in search of another wife and that is the talk of the kingdom, along with the alliance of France with the Emperor Charles. As Henry has dissolved all of the monasteries and religious houses and continues to break from the church, the Pope's letter announcing the excommunication of king Henry is close to being made official. It is still a dangerous time and plots to overthrow the king are watched for and quashed. Many find themselves imprisoned in the tower. And those who give or seek out prophecies...prophecies that imply the demise of the king...are dealt with swiftly.
Our heroine, Joanna, finds herself once again thrust into this world of danger and intrigue. A world she has stridently tried to avoid. Making a life for herself and her small cousin, Arthur, in the town of Dartford, she is content to continue her worship and start her own tapestry weaving business, even if some of the townspeople are less than gracious toward the ex-nuns of Dartford Priory. But her simple life does not last. She is invited, along with Arthur, to stay for a time with her cousin, Henry Courtenay and his wife, Gertrude, the Marquess and Marchioness of Exeter. As she embarks on her stay with her relatives, she finds herself once again drawn into the world of political intrigue, secrets, and prophecies.
I won't go any further into the plot because I don't want to give anything away, but as you can tell, The Chalice is quite an exciting read. So well-written and historically accurate. I once again find myself greatly interested in the historical figures depicted. Even though I've been feeling over-saturated with the Tudors, with this book I'm learning new things that make me want to go in search of more historical information. For a book to inspire this kind of interest in history (as I'm sure it will), especially in those who aren't big history buffs like me, is a feather in the cap of the historical fiction genre. I praise the author on another fantastic novel. She is working on a third book and I can't wait to read it! Truly, I will look forward to any books Bilyeau has published.
About the book:
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
In the next novel from Nancy Bilyeau after her acclaimed debut The Crown, novice Joanna Stafford plunges into an even more dangerous conspiracy as she comes up against some of the most powerful men of her era.
In 1538, England is in the midst of bloody power struggles between crown and cross that threaten to tear the country apart. Joanna Stafford has seen what lies inside the king’s torture rooms and risks imprisonment again, when she is caught up in a shadowy international plot targeting the King. As the power plays turn vicious, Joanna understands she may have to assume her role in a prophecy foretold by three different seers, each more omniscient than the last.
Joanna realizes the life of Henry VIII as well as the future of Christendom are in her hands—hands that must someday hold the chalice that lays at the center of these deadly prophecies…
Praise for The Chalice
"Rarely have the terrors of Henry VIII's reformation been so exciting. Court intrigue, bloody executions, and haunting emotional entanglements create a heady brew of mystery and adventure that sweeps us from the devastation of the ransacked cloisters to the dangerous spy centers of London and the Low Countries, as ex-novice Joanna Stafford fights to save her way of life and fulfill an ancient prophecy, before everything she loves is destroyed." - C.W. Gortner, author of The Queen's Vow
"The Chalice offers a fresh, dynamic look into Tudor England's most powerful, volatile personalities: Henry VIII, the Duke of Norfolk, Stephen Gardiner and Bloody Mary Tudor. Heroine and former nun Joanna Stafford is beautiful, bold and in lethal danger. Bilyeau writes compellingly of people and places that demand your attention and don't let you go even after the last exciting page." - Karen Harper, author of Mistress of Mourning
"An exciting and satisfying novel of historical suspense that cements Nancy Bilyeau as one of the genre's rising stars. The indominable Joanna Stafford is back with a cast of powerful and fascinating characters and a memorable story that is gripping while you are reading and haunting after you are done. Bravo! The Chalice is a fabulous read." - M.J. Rose, author of The Reincarnationist
About the Author:
Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown, is a writer and magazine editor who has worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Good Housekeeping. Her latest position is features editor of Du Jour magazine. A native of the Midwest, she graduated from the University of Michigan. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
For more information, please visit Nancy Bilyeau's website. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
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A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for providing it.